whats a critical care nurse?

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    What is a critical care nurse and how do i become one? I'm starting my bsn generals this fall and afterward I want to become a travel nurse. i talked to a person about this and they told me to become a critical care nurse. would a hospital train me right after college or what? sorry i dont know much im just starting my search for answers on what i want to do.
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    You have to land a job in an Intensive Care Unit or in the Emergency Department to be a critical care nurse. There are some programs in which they train you "for a fee" for Critical Care Nursing and there are programs in which the hospital that you are employed as an RN will send you to this training program. I'm not sure though on how many hours are required for being a travel nurse but my advice is to take at least 2 years experience because you will be pretty much independent when you are a travel nurse.
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    A critical care nurse takes care of critically ill patients who are often on multiple medications to sustain a viable blood pressure along with mechanical ventilation to allow proper oxygenation. The role of the critical care nurse is to care for these patients on a 3:1,2:1 or 1:1 ratio depending on acuity and staffing.

    A critical care nurse would work in an ICU ranging from medical to neuro to cardiac. Their role is to critical think and kind of put the pieces together. In an ICU one works as a team to care for the patient. A critical care nurse is trained by the hospital through an intensive preceptor program where they take courses in arrhythmias, ACLS, PALS (peds), respirator training etc...
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    Ditto and also travel nurses have to have at least one year experience working in a hospital so it's not something you can just jump into.
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    Previous posts have outlined the basics. Nurses who are attracted to (and remain in) Critical Care areas share some other characteristics. CC nurses don't get warm fuzzies and bushels of patient/family gratitude. Heck, most patients won't even remember much of what was done - that's probably a good thing. So, its not the place for anyone who needs external acknowledgement.

    CC Nurses need to have a lot of intellectual horsepower and learners very fast- able to continually absorb new technology, pharmacology, research findings - and apply the knowledge to their everyday practice. They tend to be very assertive - females score much higher on 'androgynous' personality traits than most women. CC nurses have to be vigorous advocates for their patients and this requires them to speak up - confronting issues & people as necessary. They like functioning independently and making quick decisions - there's no time to go ask others for advice on a regular basis.

    Finally, in my experience, nurses who thrive in a CC environment are spiritually grounded. This does NOT mean religious - there is a difference. CC environments are fraught with ethical issues and patient mortality. If you don't already have a clear-cut sense of personal values and beliefs which let you know when to draw the line, it can be heartbreaking and soul-destroying.


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